Lack of due diligence
THUMBS DOWN: This week the Minnesota Department of Human Services fired the administrator of the Minnesota Security Hospital in St. Peter, David Profitt, after a short and tumultous tenure during which hospital staff claimed he created a hostile working environment and fired long-time psychiatrists staff who failed to comply with his unclear standards on restraining violent patients.
Turns out, Profitt was hired without much of a background check that would have shown he had a similar history at a psychiatric facility in Maine, where he had just resigned because of similar complaints.
The state had better do a more thorough job when it hires Profitt's replacement.
Easter Egg sanity
THUMBS UP: We are happy to report that the New Ulm Part & Rec Easter Egg Hunt will go on next Saturday at German Park, as it has every year, with smiling parents standing on the sideline while their children look for goodies. It's a fun, enjoyable experience for all. We are egg hunters have never had the experience that Colorado Springs, Colo. kids had last year, when over-zealous parents jumped the rope to help their kids find the plastic eggs filled with loot. There will be no Easter Egg hunt in Colorado Springs this year as a result.
Thanks, New Ulm parents, for letting the kids have the fun of doing it themselves.
THUMBS DOWN: It is disappointing to hear that the Minnesota Department of Transportaton has better things to spend money on than fixing one of the most dangerous stretches of highway in the state. Expanding Highway 14 to four lanes from Mankato to New Ulm would save lives. But there probably will be no money for it in MnDOT's 20 year plan.
That's the word the Highway 14 Partnership received in St. Paul on Wednesday.
For decades Minnesota has been underfunding its highway repair and improvement program. Since 1972, transportation spending has shrunk from 13 percent to 8 percent of state and local government spending, according to the Office of the Legislative Auditor. We aren't even funding transportation projects at a level that would maintain what roads we have.
We wonder how many more deaths (there were more than 25 between New Ulm and Owatonna in the past decade) it will take to get this highway on the priority list?
THUMBS UP: We're glad that some of New Ulm's warriors are participating in the re-enactment next week of the Battle of Shiloh. Members of the New Ulm Battery will help commemorate the 150th anniversary of the battle, one of the bloodiest battles in US history.
Battery Commander John Fritsche will be commanding a seven-cannon battery during the reenactment, accompanied by a dozen of the battery's members.
Fritsche may be one of the few reenactors who actually commands a standing artillery unit. The New Ulm Battery was formed following the US-Dakota War of 1862, and has been standing guard ever since. It may be largely ceremonial, but New Ulm remains one of the few cities in the US with its own Department of Defense.